The Role of High-Complexity Low-Resolution (HCLR) Performance Modeling in the Development of Dynamic Building Envelopes

Apr 13, 2015

The present use of building simulation tools in the design of dynamic building envelopes provides critical feedback regarding the performance consequences of proposed design strategies. There is added importance on the use of low-resolution simulation engines during the early stages of the design process when most energy critical decisions are made by the design team. Even though low-resolution tools serve a critical role in assessing how well envelope design alternatives fulfill their intended level of performance, they are unable to predict precise outcomes. Therefore, these tools can complicate the design/construction process when incorrect assumptions about envelope performance are not revealed until late stages of the process. This gap between the predicted and actual performance of the system suggests that higher levels of accountability are required within the early design process to consider the complex aspects of dynamic building envelope behavior. This paper discusses the limitations of low-resolution tools in predicting dynamic building envelope daylighting behavior and presents a revised prediction strategy called High-Complexity Low-Resolution performance modeling employed at the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research. Utilizing a coupled approach, this method effectively interprets natural lighting data provided by low-resolution simulation programs and corroborates those results through operations such as physical modeling and rapid prototyping. When High-Complexity Low-Resolution performance modeling is used, the disparities between the predicted and actual daylighting results provided by the system is significantly reduced from 260 percent to 81 percent.

(This entry contains a conference paper and presentation in PDF. For optimal viewing, open in Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

TIm Frank, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, SPSU
Chip Clark, Research Assistant Professor, School of Architecture + Design, Virginia Tech
Proceedings of the BEST4 Conference
Presented at: 
BEST4 Conference
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
BEST4 Technical Committee, National Institute of Building Sciences

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